John Chubb is a political scientist, not a politician. His name is not a household word, he has no constituency, and he is not accustomed to being in the public eye. But even as he sits here in his quiet Washington, D.C., office on this warm, spring afternoon, that is rapidly changing. In a few days his controversial new book will be released at a press conference, where he and a panel of educators and policymakers will debate the issues it raises. Several days later he will appear on CBS's Face the Nation, followed by an appearance the next morning on NBC's The Today Show. Within the week he expects to be on the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. And by the end of the summer he will have met with federal and state legislators, corporate leaders, and newspaper editorial boards from coast to coast, and schmoozed with fellow citizens on a number of radio talk shows.
One morning as Sharon Miller rushed into her homeroom at Cleveland's all-girls Laurel School, she noticed a group of 7th graders scowling and huddling conspiratorially. She soon learned what was behind all the unhappy faces. The male teacher with whom she shared the homeroom had just announced a new lunchroom policy he had formulated--without consulting her.